“Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer, found God in the Philippines,” says, Bishop Virgilio S. David, the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
He recalls how the Catholic faith first arrived on Philippine shores, but with an interesting twist.
"He (Magellan) found God in this country. He thought he was going to evangelize us. He was evangelized by the goodness that he sought among the natives of these islands. So, that’s really worth celebrating,” Bishop David said.
Speaking at the premiere of “The Pilgrim: 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines,” held at the Radio Veritas Asia auditorium on April 23, the bishop cited the chronicles of Antonio Pigafetta, the Italian scholar and explorer who joined Magellan’s expedition to the Moluccas, and how their perilous journey landed them on the island of Homonhon.
Firestarters Productions Inc is the producer of the docu-film.
"They (Magellan) just needed some food and some water, and shelter for the sick, and to bury their dead, and to celebrate Mass," he said.
The prelate also said that they arrived on the Philippine shores as foreigners who needed help.
"Believe it or not, the natives responded warmly with compassion," he continued.
Because it has always been taught in history classes that Magellan brought the Catholic faith to the country, Bishop David thinks it is the other way around.
The bishop also noted that "evangelization begins only when the seeds of the Gospel fall on the rich soil of goodwill, and it was the encounter of people of goodwill that made these islands open to the faith."
“And years after the Spanish regime ended, we continued to live our Catholic faith,” he said.
David gave his assurance that the CBCP will actively promote the documentary film, which will be shown to all archdioceses and dioceses around the Philippines.
He received copies of the film during the turnover ceremony in the presence of Radio Veritas Asia General Manager Claretian Father Victor F. Sadaya, Radyo Veritas 846 President Father Anton CT Pascual, the Chief Operating Officer of the Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines Attorney Anthonette Velasco-Allones, Rubyrose Rustia of Creative Travel and Tours International, and documentary director Real S. Florido.
“The Pilgrim: 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines” is a collaborative effort of Radio Veritas Asia, Radio Veritas 846, Tourism Promotions Board Philippines, and Creative Travel Tours International.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.